Our Advent Call to Deeper Faith, Rooted in Humility
It’s early December and the sights and sounds of the Christmas season are ever more evident; there’s a special “beauty” and attraction as we approach Christmas 2023. The holiday decorations, the classic carols and instrumentals we hear these days move us towards a special holiday mood, stirring up the Christmas spirit in these early days of Advent — while our world continues to struggle with wars, violence, injustice, and destruction. Our faith in Jesus our Savior is foundational to the Life we hope to celebrate this Christmas 2023.
Today’s Scripture readings highlight the power of faith to enrich our outlook and motivate us to increased action on behalf of our troubled world. With classic style Isaiah proclaims God’s transformative love, helping us embrace a new world order founded upon justice, goodness, and peace…enabling both personal and community transformation. Jesus meets a centurion who needed help for his paralyzed servant who was in very poor health; with faith and humility, the centurion tells Jesus about the sick servant — and Jesus offers to come and visit. As the centurion expresses his faith in Jesus, Jesus highlights the centurion’s deep faith…and the servant’s miraculous cure happened! Both Isaiah and the centurion recognized God’s presence in their lives, and with humility and faith opened their hearts to God’s salvific action; life was changed!
During these days of Advent 2023 we’re encouraged to pause in the midst of the Christmas “hoopla” and our world’s serious needs — to seriously reflect on how our faith in the loving presence of God enriches our relationships with all of creation. These Advent days and their special Scripture selections challenge us to get ever more serious about putting our faith and love into practice — devoting time and energy to prayer and action so that God will be evermore present to us, motivating us to live as true children of God, children of the Kingdom of Jesus. Perhaps…if we have a lasting change of heart and act upon it…the experience of Christmas can “flavor” every day of the year. With Isaiah we can “…walk in the light of the Lord.” These Advent days, may we be watchful in prayer, and exultant in God’s praise.
Fr. John Schork, C.P. serves as the Province Vocation Director and also as Local Superior of the Passionist Community of Holy Name in Houston, Texas.